cost of hacking walls in Singapore
February 20, 2024

Cost of Hacking Walls in Singapore [Complete Breakdown]

Home renovation projects are increasingly popular in Singapore, driven by homeowners looking to upgrade their living spaces. One of the most dramatic ways to transform a home is by hacking or removing existing walls to create a more open and airy layout. However, before taking the sledgehammer to your walls, it is important to understand the full range of costs involved. This comprehensive guide breaks down the key factors that determine the price of hacking walls in HDB flats and private residences across Singapore.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    • What Does Wall Hacking Involve?
    • Detailed Benefits of Hacking Walls in Your Home
  2. All Cost Factors for Wall Hacking in Singapore
    • Type of property
    • Scope of work
    • Wall materials
    • Structural considerations
    • Location
    • Permits
    • Contractor rates
    • Specialist labor
    • Finishing requirements
    • Additional features
  3. Average Cost to Hack Walls in Singapore Homes
    • Cost per m2
    • Sample cost breakdowns
  4. Cost Comparison: Hiring a Contractor vs DIY Hacking
    • Benefits of hiring a contractor
    • Risks of DIY hacking
  5. Additional Cost Factors to Keep in Mind
    • HDB approval and permits
    • Structural engineering
    • Electrical wiring adjustments
    • Plastering and finishing
    • Painting and touch ups
    • Clean up fees
  6. Conclusion: Plan Thoroughly and Get Quotes

What Does Wall Hacking Involve?

Wall hacking refers to the process of altering or removing existing walls in a home. This allows you to:

  • Create wider, more open spaces by removing dividing walls
  • Add doors, archways or windows to improve flow
  • Remove walls to join two rooms into one larger living area
  • Widen doorway openings to improve home accessibility
  • Install structural beams and supports to remove load-bearing walls

Wall hacking jobs can range from simple to very complex depending on the size of the wall, whether it is load-bearing, and the desired outcome. Some examples of common wall hacking projects include:

  • Removing a small non-load bearing partition wall between the kitchen and dining area to create an open-concept cooking and eating space.
  • Hacking a bedroom wall to expand and widen the master bedroom size.
  • Knocking down the wall between two small bedrooms to create one larger bedroom.
  • Widening the doorway opening between the living room and kitchen for better flow.
  • Removing the wall between the kitchen and living room to create a spacious open concept.

Detailed Benefits of Hacking Walls in Your Home

There are several benefits that motivate homeowners to take on wall hacking projects:

  • Improved aesthetics – Removing walls creates brighter, more spacious and airy interiors. Hacking a wall dividing a hallway, for example, can make the space appear larger.
  • Functionality – An open concept layout improves home functionality and flow between rooms. Removing walls between the kitchen and dining room enables better movement and convenience.
  • Space maximization – Knocking down walls allows you to free up more usable square footage in a home. This is especially pertinent for smaller HDB flats.
  • Value add – Strategic wall hacking can increase your home’s resale value significantly. An open kitchen connected to the living room makes the space more desirable to buyers.
  • Customization – Wall hacking enables homeowners to fully customize their layout to suit their lifestyle. Rearrange and reconfigure areas however you prefer.
  • Brighten interior – The removal of walls results in rooms benefiting from natural lighting flowing in from adjoining spaces. This creates a brighter interior environment.

All Cost Factors for Wall Hacking in Singapore

The cost of hacking walls can vary considerably based on several key factors:

  • Type of property – Wall hacking costs will generally be higher for large landed homes versus smaller HDB flats based on size and accessibility factors.
  • Scope of work – The size and number of walls to be hacked will impact the pricing. Knocking down multiple walls costs more than removing a single small partition.
  • Wall materials – Concrete or brick walls cost more to demolish and dispose than lighter plasterboard or sheetrock partitions.
  • Structural considerations – Altering load-bearing walls has added complexities and costs over non-load bearing walls, requiring beams and supports.
  • Location – Ease of access impacts cost. Hacking walls in a high-rise apartment is trickier and pricier than a landed home where heavy equipment is more easily delivered.
  • Permits – Any hacking job for an HDB flat requires proper approval from HDB authorities. The paperwork and inspection process adds fees.
  • Contractor rates – More experienced firms charge higher pricing compared to newer contractors. But they offset this premium with expertise that prevents costly structural issues.
  • Specialist labor – Some complex hacking jobs may require hiring structural engineers, electricians and plumbers to assess feasibility and redirect wiring or pipes embedded in walls. Their professional fees add to the cost.
  • Finishing requirements – The level of finishing touches needed after hacking adds to the price. Just leaving exposed brick versus plastering and painting costs more.
  • Additional features – Adding built-in carpentry, new lighting or glass partitions in place of removed walls boosts cost.

Average Cost of Hacking Walls in Singapore Homes

As a general guideline for budgeting purposes, wall hacking services in Singapore typically range from:

  • $1,500 to $3,000 for smaller scale hacking of a single non-load bearing wall in an HDB flat.
  • $5,000 to $10,000 for more complex hacking of multiple walls or load-bearing walls in a condo unit or landed property.

However, total pricing can go above $15,000 for extensive hacking that requires major structural alterations. Property owners should allocate at least $3,500 for even straightforward wall removal projects to account for unforeseen complexities.

The typical price per m2 ranges from $100 to $250 for labor, materials, equipment rental and debris disposal. Permits and other fees will be additional costs.

Here are some sample cost breakdowns for common scenarios:

Property TypeProject ScopeCost Estimate
HDB 2-room flatRemoving living room partition wall (12 m2)$1,500 to $2,500
HDB 4-room flatHacking bedroom wall to expand master bedroom (8 m2)$1,200 to $2,000
Condo apartmentRemove dividing wall between kitchen and living (25 m2)$3,500 to $5,000
Landed terrace homeOpen concept first floor (60 m2)$8,000 to $12,000
BungalowGreat room with multiple walls removed (180 m2)$25,000 to $40,000

As shown, the property type and scope of hacking works influences the pricing significantly. Condos and landed homes cost more due to accessibility challenges.

Cost Comparison: Hiring a Contractor vs DIY Hacking

You have two options when it comes to hacking walls in your Singapore home:

Hiring a professional contractor is recommended for most hacking projects, especially in apartments and condos where access is difficult. Benefits of contractors include:

  • Expertise in assessing which walls can or cannot be safely removed. They use specialized equipment to detect if a wall is load-bearing.
  • Availability of proper demolition tools, equipment and manpower to tear down walls efficiently. Jackhammers and other machinery may be needed.
  • Ability to handle permits, engineering approvals and paperwork required for HDB hacking jobs.
  • Knowledge of safety practices to isolate areas and contain dust or debris during the noisy demolition process.
  • Contractors typically charge $5,000 to $15,000 or more depending on the project scope. Their experience helps avoid structural mishaps down the road.

DIY hacking is a more budget-friendly route, but comes with greater risks:

  • No recourse if a structural issue arises later due to incorrect hacking. Repair costs would be entirely out of pocket.
  • Inexperience can lead to ugly unfinished results. Drywall, plastering, painting and finishing work is complex.
  • Handling safe removal and disposal of construction debris yourself can be challenging in apartments. Coordinating a rubbish chute booking slot is tricky.
  • Accessing tools for upper floors would require booking a goods lift. Renting an industrial jackhammer on your own may be difficult.
  • Typical DIY cost is $1,500 to $5,000 including equipment rental, materials and fees. But a DIY structural failure can be far more costly.
  • DIY is best suited only for knocking down very minor non-load bearing walls on the ground floor of landed homes with clear accessibility.

Additional Cost Factors to Keep in Mind

Other ancillary costs to consider in your wall hacking budget:

  • HDB approval and permits – Hacking projects require formal consent from HDB with proper licensed contractors. Average permit costs are $200 to $300 assuming unforeseen complexities don’t arise.
  • Structural engineering – For major load-bearing wall removal jobs, a structural engineer’s assessment may cost $1,000 or more for the technical drawings, analysis and certification.
  • Electrical wiring adjustments – Any affected wiring will need to be safely diverted, which could require an electrician. Budget $200 to $500 for related electrical work.
  • Plastering and finishing – Newly exposed wall areas will need smoothing and plastering work. Budget $5 to $10 per square foot.
  • Painting and touch ups – Expect additional painting costs to blend old and new walls, along with any fixed carpentry that needs matching paint. This can run a few thousand dollars.
  • Clean up fees – Removing all dust and debris upon completion properly can cost $200 or more. Rubbish chute bookings also need factoring on top.

Careful planning, budgeting and contingency funds for all associated costs are key to keeping your wall hacking project on track and avoiding sticker shock down the line.

Conclusion: Plan Thoroughly and Get Quotes

Hacking walls can dramatically enhance your interior layout, aesthetics, brightness and appeal. By understanding typical costs based on property type, wall material, scope of work and preparation requirements, you can budget realistically. Be sure to get multiple itemized quotes from reputable contractors before committing so there are no nasty surprises. With advance planning, you can enjoy the benefits of knocking down walls and opening up your Singapore home.

Hacking Singapore is a reinstatement, dismantling, and hacking contractor in Singapore. We provide reinstatement works and hacking services for commercial, industrial, and residential properties.

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